NBA

Nash allays Harden injury fears after missing Trail Blazers game

By Sports Desk January 10, 2022

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash allayed fears of a serious knee injury for 2018 MVP James Harden who was left out of the side to play the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

Harden, who is averaging 22.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists this season, missed the game due to a left knee hyperextension.

Nash revealed Harden did not require an MRI on the knee and that the Nets were taking precaution.

"I think we're being overly cautious," Nash told reporters prior to Monday's game.

"A heavy stretch of games. Expect him to play Wednesday [against the Chicago Bulls]."

Kyrie Irving, who is only eligible for road games due to his vaccination status, will play in the game away to the Trail Blazers.

"It would be great if we didn't have to get him up to 40 [minutes] tonight," Nash said. "But at the same time, I think he's got the bulk of his preparation and his legs and is ready to play as much as needed ... you don't want to play him 44 minutes tonight, then he's got to turn around and play a big game on Wednesday.

"So we'll play him more minutes, but we would love for it to be gradual and a strategic allocation of minutes, not just like, 'All right great, we got a new Ferrari and we're going to rack up the miles.'"

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    Barcelona coach Xavi refused to rule out exits for Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the eve of their LaLiga opener, acknowledging "anything can happen".

    Manchester United's interest in De Jong has evolved into one of the longest-running sagas of the transfer window, while Chelsea are being strongly linked with both the Netherlands midfielder and Barca striker Aubameyang.

    Although Xavi and president Joan Laporta have expressed confidence Barca will overcome their financial woes to register a host of new acquisitions ahead of Saturday's fixture against Rayo Vallecano, they are trying to offload players and reduce the wage bill.

    While Xavi still considers both men key players, he made it clear they may depart before the transfer window closes.

    "From here until August 31 a lot can happen, but I like Aubameyang a lot," Xavi told a news conference on Friday.

    "He helped us a lot, he's an important player for me, he arrived here with a lot of humility, a good work ethic, so we'll see what happens."

    On De Jong's future, the Blaugrana boss added: "It's the same as Aubameyang, he's an important player and he's part of the squad. 

    "If I can use him, great. From now until the 31st we will see what possibilities there are and where we are with regards to our participation in the market. 

    "From now until August 31, anything can happen with Frenkie and with any players in the squad."

    Reports have suggested tensions are high between De Jong and the club after he appeared to be jeered by a group of supporters while arriving at training earlier this week.

    But Xavi denies there is any ill-feeling towards De Jong, who joined from Ajax for a reported fee of €75million in 2019.

    "I didn't hear whistles, I heard applause," Xavi claimed. "People are able to express how and when they want, I'm here to try to improve the squad and make a cohesive unit. 

    "It depends on how you perform on the pitch whether they support you or whistle. I think Frenkie can help the squad very well, he's helped the club also and I have no complaints."

    One player who is set to leave Barcelona is young midfielder Nico Gonzalez, who declared on Wednesday he would be joining Valencia on a season-long loan.

    Nico made 37 appearances for Barca last season – although only 17 were starts – and Xavi revealed the 20-year-old asked to leave.

    "He came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico," Xavi said. "But a few days ago, he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. 

    "He has been brave and is going to Valencia. I hope he comes back more mature because it will be important for the future of Barca. 

    "For the midfield we have Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, [Franck] Kessie, Frenkie, Sergi Roberto, and even [Andreas] Christensen who can play there."

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    “I am a good defensive player so I am expecting my team to play good defence because from good defence comes great offence. So I am expecting my teammates to play good defence and each player, whether we are playing zone or man so I am expecting good things from them.”

    From a personal standpoint, Brown, Team Horizon’s co-captain, said he is eagerly anticipating going up against Black, who is co-captain of Team Rivers.

    “The first match is going to be great. We are playing against Dave (Black). He is a great player. I have always wanted to play against him. I have seen what he can do over the week that I have been playing with him,” Brown said.

    “I think all my teammates are looking forward to playing against Team Blue. They are as excited as I am. My teammates are all good competitors so it’s going to be a good game.”

    Meanwhile, Black said Team Rivers plans to play exciting basketball that will entertain the fans.

    “After the first practice, I think we have good chemistry going into Saturday’s game. We just want to get up and down the court fast and play some exciting basketball,” Black said.

    “We have a lot of talent on our team and we just want to go out there and compete. We had our first practice yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning (Thursday) and our expectation is to win the tournament.

    “I think we have one of the best teams. In our first game, we’ll be trying to get stops, trying to go on the break and playing exciting basketball not only for the coaches but also for the fans. We want everybody to have fun watching some great basketball.”

    The Caribbean’s biggest basketball entertainment event of the season is being hosted in collaboration with the Jamaica Basketball Association.

    The tournament starts at 5:00 pm with an opening ceremony, followed by competition between the four teams in the league - Elite 1 Rivers, Elite 1 Waves, Elite 1 Horizon, and Elite 1 Storm. Each team comprises top-tier professional players from Jamaica, Barbados, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ghana.

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    The National Arena in Kingston comes alive this Saturday, August 13th with the first games of P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy’s Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Summer League (E1CBL)- the Caribbean’s biggest basketball entertainment event of the season, which is hosted in collaboration with the Jamaica Basketball Association. 

    The event starts at 5:00 PM with an opening ceremony, followed by heated competition among the four teams in the league; Elite 1 Rivers, Elite 1 Waves, Elite 1 Horizon, and Elite 1 Storm. Each team comprises of top-tier professional players from Jamaica, Barbados, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ghana.  

    Spectators will also be treated to entertaining half time shows headlined by some of Jamaica’s most popular artistes. 

    The exciting competition continues August 14 starting at 6:00 PM, and on August 17 at 4:00 PM.  It will culminate with a celebrity game, third place playoff and the championship game on August 20th which will start at 4:00 PM. 

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    “We are going be bringing them a professional basketball atmosphere that a lot of people only see on TV. We will have high flying basketball players, dancers, music and entertainment topped off by an energetic crowd. It’s the ultimate family entertainment event,” he said. 

    Tickets for the event are available at Emkay Sports at 11 Oxford Terrace in Kingston, and cost $200 for students, $500 for bleachers, and $1000 for VIP. Persons can also reach out to the E1CBL via Instagram @e1caribbeanbasketballleague to purchase tickets. 

    The E1CBL is sponsored by the Jamaica Basketball Association, Elite 1 Recruiting Platform, Ribbiz, TurboStats, Global Pipeline Agency, KFC, Phoenix Health Complex and Vision Centre, Athletic Fusion, Suretime Medical, Habliborange, Herbs, Facey Pharmaceuticals, and Confectionery and Snacks Jamaica. 

    P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy was founded by Jamaican Canadian and former basketball player, Wayne Dawkins. For the past 25 years, P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy have been organizing and hosting basketball leagues and tournaments in Canada and the US and Africa. These events have contributed substantially to the growth of the youth sports industry. 

    P.H.A.S.E.1 Academies are located in Canada, Jamaica, the United States, and Africa. Our student-athletes have access to expert staff, elite training methods, top competition, and exposure to greater opportunities. Over the years, we have assisted in the development of more than 500 athletes in receiving scholarships to study and play post-secondary sports and move on to become professional athletes.

     

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